GreatCall acquires Lively's aging in place technology assets

By Jonah Comstock
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San Diego-based GreatCall, which offers digital health services and devices to seniors, has acquired the assets of aging in place startup Lively for an undisclosed amount.

"GreatCall's leadership in active aging is rooted in customer knowledge. With a deep understanding of the needs of our customers, we have been uniquely positioned to build awareness of key issues and develop products and services that address the needs of both older adults and their caregivers," GreatCall CEO David Inns said in a statement. "Acquiring Lively builds upon that ideal and as we move forward into our second decade, we will continue to innovate, build our customer base and develop our connected health platform based on that foundation."

Lively makes a suite of home sensors that monitor seniors living alone at home and can alert loved ones if they fail to take their medication, aren't eating or drinking enough, have a change in movement patterns, or fall down. Last fall, the company added a wrist wearable, a safety watch the New York Times described as an "Apple Watch clone". After a failed Kickstarter attempt, the startup raised $4.8 million in 2013 in a round led by Cambia Health Solutions.
Current Lively subscribers will continue to get support for the technology from GreatCall's customer service, and over time the whole system will transition to become part of GreatCall's platform, the company said in a statement.

"We are excited that the Lively platform will build upon GreatCall's leadership in active aging," Iggy Fanlo, Lively's CEO and co-founder, said in a statement.

GreatCall's current offerings include smartphones and flip phones with large screens and a small, curated selection of apps for seniors, an urgent response call system called 5Star, and an mPERS device called GreatCall Splash, which is a handheld, clip-on device. The Lively deal isn't the company's first small acquisition: GreatCall added mPERS to its product line following the acquisition of MobiWatch in 2009.

Adding Lively, especially the new wristworn wearable, will greatly expand GreatCall's offering and allow them to offer a "smartwatch" companion to their smartphones at a time when that's increasingly becoming the norm in the mainstream smartphone business.

"As GreatCall looks at consolidating the fragmented active aging space, we see this acquisition as a strategic move for our connected health platform," adds Brian Berning, CFO of GreatCall. "We will continue to innovate new products and services but we will also acquire synergistic opportunities. With the sheer number of family caregivers in the US and the aging of Baby Boomers, the need for technology support will increase rapidly. GreatCall is poised to anticipate and respond to that need."

While it seems to be a straight asset sale, we've reached out to GreatCall to confirm that no Lively team members will be moving over as part of the deal. We'll update this story when we hear back.

Update: GreatCall responded to MobiHealthNews in an email.

"When due diligence regarding the acquisition began there were no Lively employees in place, as such, there will be no employees migrating to GreatCall," a spokesperson wrote.